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Marvel Comics Presents #12 & 13 (1989, February)

December 1, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Dennis Hopeless on Jean Grey’s solo. I guess because they can’t have two female writers on X-titles at the same time. That would just be crazy. Anyway, today, by Nocenti, Leonardi, Russell, Oliver, Rockwitz and Lopez, “God’s Country (Part III of VIII) – Iron Curtains.”

God's Country (Part III of VIII) - Iron Curtains

Symbolism!

Colossus is fighting guys with powers. They’re hurting him, but he ends up kicking their asses long enough to get away with the family. The father thinks they should go to the police, and Colossus says no, and there’s something about this panel I find amusing:

Marvel Comics Presents #12

A stirring defence of the police, but . . .

So, setting aside the fact that a lot of people do have reason to fear the police, I’m amused by something else. So, this guy’s a small-government, Second-Amendment-loving conservative Republican. And I find these types can come across as schizophrenic when it comes to police. Because here, the guy says the police are great. But guys like this are often quick to bash the police if someone brings up gun restrictions or anything like that. Just something that amuses me. They’ll defend the police when someone criticizes them, and criticize the police when someone defends them.

But anyway! Colossus has a bad feeling about the whole thing, but Bruce insists the country won’t betray him, with Grandpa pointing out they sent him to Vietnam and make him fight for his benefit checks. Gee, that bit about veterans fighting for benefit checks sure does make this comic look dated doesn’t it hahahahaha. At the police station, the officers load them into a van, and Colossus shoves away the cop and drives off, with the cop shooting at them. Bruce drives the van out to their farm, and boards the place up. He insist that what happens in Russia can’t happen in the US. Roxy, meanwhile, is a little stressed.

Marvel Comics Presents #12

She has her priorities.

She’s starting to lose it, so Bruce gives her a rifle. Because Bruce is clearly great at decisions. His wife is falling apart from the stress of feeling under attack, so give her a gun. What could go wrong? Nothing makes a person on the verge of a freak-out feel calmer than a gun. Good call, Bruce. He also gives a handgun to his son. Again: Great decision-making skills. The kid immediately aims the gun at Colossus and asks if he’s really a Commie. Cliffhanger!

This is a pretty good installment. There’s a lot going on here, actually. We’ve got Colossus vs. the bad guys, a debate about going to the police, actually running from the police, and barricading their farmhouse. In 8 pages. Bruce’s unwavering faith in America is interesting; this was right near the end of the Reagan Presidency, when conservatives did love the country unquestioningly. It’s only when Clinton took office that they found their scepticism again. Conservatives always have much dimmer views of America when Democrats are in the White House. Roxy’s gradual descent into freak-out is really unsettling, too. The scene at the police station did feel a bit too quick. That would be my main criticism of this part. It lasted one page. It was just weirdly quick, to me.

And, without Oliver, Part IV, “Draw the Lines . . .”

God's Country (Part IV of VIII) - Draw the Lines . . .

The Black Panther story is amazing, by the way.

The neighbours are wondering what Bruce and his family are up to, and gossiping about them.

Marvel Comics Presents #13

Bruce just got turned into a wife-beating Commie sympathizer.

Meanwhile, Grandpa’s in his old car. He’s got it tripped out as a memory car, full of photos of old movie stars, some model planes, a banjo. He’s decided to stay in the car until everything blows over. In the house, Colossus wants to take the family to a hotel, but Bruce says he can’t afford it. And we get a political debate!

Marvel Comics Presents #13

Again, it’s nice that this has become so dated.

Bruce criticizes the USSR’s lack of free speech, and Colossus says both systems have problems. Which is fair. They continue to debate things, and it’s pretty interesting stuff, but again, Colossus goes back to the point that both sides have let their people down, and they need to stop fighting, before it’s too late.

Which makes a good time for the fighting to start, as a hail of bullets cuts through the walls. Colossus goes out to deal with the powered people again, and a woman among them asks to be brought inside so she can talk to the family. Meanwhile, the neighbours continue to watch and gossip.

This part’s mostly dedicated to the argument between Colossus and Bruce. And it’s a good debate. And, look, I’m Canadian, and a liberal Canadian at that. So when Colossus suggests that things like health care, housing and even employment should be considered human rights? I agree. I am entirely for that. So I’m on Colossus’ side here. And yeah, censorship is bad, so Bruce is right about that, but he strikes me as very naive. Believably so, though. So it does make a good discussion. Nocenti was always good at these kinds of debates between characters.

The art in both parts is really good. It’s Leonardi. What’s not to love? The man’s a great artist. Russell inks him well, and Rockwitz’s colours are pretty good. There’s a lot of talking head stuff, but Leonardi still makes it visually interesting, and even exciting.

This story remains good and interesting.

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